More than a dozen Nillumbik Shire community and sports groups support the shires bid for more funding to complete the Diamond Creek Trail’s missing link.
Nillumbik still needs $3 million to complete what has been its top priority for 20 years – the extension of the trail from Diamond Creek to Hurstbridge, creating a 55km unbroken trail to the CBD. It is asking the state government for funding to complete the $11.5 million project.
Mayor Peter Clarke said the shared trail would be used by walkers, joggers, cyclists and horse riders and was expected to attract 360,000 users a year and to bring in $32.6m in economic benefits over a 30-year–period.
“It will make the Shire a regional destination and improve safety and well-being. If we get the funding, the trail could be completed by 2020 – to be enjoyed by all of us and generations to come,” Cr Clarke said.
Creek Trailblazers president Helen Legg, said the association’s 1500 members wanted the regionally significant trail completed for a vast number of reasons: to increase well-being, safety, tourism and the local economy as well as for sports groups and clubs.
The Diamond Creek Traders Association president Claire Nolle said businesses would prosper through increased tourism to the area, while Eltham resident Jim Connor mooted the idea of accommodation options for trail users undertaking longer journeys.
Diamond Creek Parkrun co-event director Nikki Waterfall said their 288 weekly runners used the existing Diamond Creek Trail between Marngrook Oval and Allendale Road. The trail had different widths and they had introduced seeded starts and additional marshals to make it safer – but some people had stopped coming. “It is not okay that people are choosing not to attend due to the crowded paths,” Ms Waterfall said.
Michelle Esdale, president of the Diamond Creek Runners, said the completed trail would be a perfect fit for their long-term plans for a community fun run.
Yarrambat Horse & Pony Club secretary Teha Smart said the club had 70 members, all of whom owned horses. She said there were very few places where it was safe to ride – and that it was “incredibly dangerous” for horses to be ridden along the roads.
This view was echoed by the Nillumbik Horse Action Group (NHAG) which said there were more than double the number of equestrian activities in the Shire than in both Victoria and Australia.
NillumBUG – Nillumbik Bicycle User Group convenor Maxine Fowler said a shared trail would mean cyclists would be off-road and safe from traffic.
The Café Latte Bike Group made up of 15 older riders who cycle and stop off for coffee, has also endorsed completing the trail.
Friends of Watery Gully in Wattle Glen convenor Stephanie Germancheva said once the trail was completed, Peppers Paddock would become a much-praised stopping point for pedestrian and bicycle riders, with the general store benefiting.
The 1st Hurstbridge Scout Group leader Martin Ward said they had been selected as one of four groups in Victoria to trial the new Youth Program Review. They would be able to use the completed trail for hiking, cycling, running and other fitness programs.
The Nillumbik Emus Orienteering Club said the trail would be incorporated into their program, and the North Eltham Wanderers Cricket Club said it would serve as an additional training facility for players.
The Older Men of Nillumbik Men’s Discussion Group said members often walked and cycled to keep fit but that currently there were very few off-road tracks in the area.
Friends of the Diamond Creek (Eltham Lower Park) convenor Sue Dyet said people learned about the environment by being in it – and extending this trail would facilitate this.
-With Nillumbik Shire Council